Our passage today is Colossians 2:16-23 and the notes have been prepared by Bill
The prophet Ezekiel saw in a vision a valley full of dry bones. In the old Spiritual song inspired by the vision, “Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones,” the bones get connected up again. The toe bone is connected to the foot bone, the foot bone to the leg bone, the leg bone to the hip bone and so on all the way until the neck bone is connected to the head bone.
Paul is writing about people, teachers in the church at Colossae, who have lost their connection with Christ, the Head of the body v19.
Earlier in the letter we read that Paul was praying for the believers to have spiritual wisdom and understanding 1v9. Here is an example of a time when it was very necessary. They needed to see through what was going on. In today’s passage there are several references to things which may seem wise and right at first sight but actually amount to being outright error, or the cause of error. Here they are.
There is the shadow (of what was to come) on the one hand and on the other hand the reality, Christ himself v17. There is “false humility” in v18 and again v23. Paul says in v18 some delight in it. These people are rather pleased with their show of humility and their strange worship v18 & 23. Then there are “idle notions” v18 and the “appearance” of wisdom. False, false, false says Paul.
Paul had already urged the Colossians to grow in their Christian lives in verse 6, rooted and built up in Christ. It seems that the false teachers had been teaching their ideas about how to grow as a Christian. There were some things the false teachers forbade the believers to do and other things they required them to do. But Paul says these are just human commands and teachings. It is like Jesus’ words about the religious teachers of his day, “…their teachings are but rules taught by men.” Mt.15.9
We need to pray for the spiritual wisdom to see through error, to discern what is and what is not of God. The nub of the matter here was that those false teachers in Colossae were not connected with Christ. True growth comes from Christ v19.
“From Christ the Head the whole body, supported and held together by its ligaments and sinews, grows as God causes it to grow.” Colossians 2:19